First it came for China. Then it came for Italy. Now, it’s coming for us: According to comments from the World Health Organization, the United States could become the next epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak originated in China in December, and the country is just now seeing a turn in its tide, reporting its first day of no new infections on March 19. On March 13, Europe was declared the new epicenter, with Italy being hit hardest.
WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said Tuesday that in the past 24 hours, 85% of new coronavirus cases worldwide were from Europe and the United States, and of those, 40% were from the US.
When asked whether the US could become the new epicenter, she said, “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential… They have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity.”
Unfortunately it seems the global pandemic is growing fast: According to the WHO’s coronavirus dashboard, Monday had the greatest rise in new infections since the outbreak began, with 40,900 new cases worldwide, compared to 14,400 new cases on the same day last week. Given Harris’s figures, the US would have had about 13,906 new cases yesterday.
Of the 372,757 confirmed cases reported to the WHO so far, 42,164 are from the US, which has the third highest tally behind China (81,747) and Italy (63,927).